Here is a piece from March 3, 2010. At the time, wine bloggers were actively soliciting samples from wineries, bragging of their imaginary abilities to sell a lot of wine. I doubt much has changed. And yet samples are still shipped to hapless and unqualified Poodles daily, the lazy winery Marketing Director's answer to what he's been doing lately. But my real motivation for writing the piece was probably as an excuse to mention one of history's greatest performers, Le Petomane. So, here, from the dark days of 2010, is my blog counterpart, Le Petomane of Wine:
asked a friend at a small winery to allow me to read a typical note
from a wine blogger asking for samples. He receives several
solicitations every month, even more right before Christmas. Here is the
letter he gave me.
To Whom It May Concern,
know that it's going to be a little hard for you to believe that you're
actually hearing from me. No one ever expected Ed McMahon to send them a
letter from Publisher's Clearing House either.
And few women ever expected to get to sleep with Warren Beatty, though
none of the thousands who did complained, even if they did have to put
Vaseline in their eyes to make him look younger. It's just not every day
you have contact with a celebrity. But I assure you it's true. I really
am contacting you for samples of your wonderful wines. I know how much
excitement this will cause you, and I certainly know that what's running
through your mind now is the amount of sales a review from my wine
blog, LePetomaneofWine, will generate, but I urge you to calm down, take
a deep breath, good, now think about hiring some extra help for your
shipping department before the surge.
As you undoubtedly have
heard from other winery owners in your appellation, wine blogs are now
the most important source for reviews and sales. Sure, once upon a time
it was the media, but those days are long past. Wine lovers have caught
on to the fact that 40% of the wineries Parker critiques are fictional,
not to mention 100% of the numbers. And, of course, Parker is dead and
his recent reviews were generated randomly by machines formerly used for
tabulating Florida elections. Wine Spectator only makes money giving
restaurants awards for their fictional wine lists in much the same
manner every kid on the soccer team gets a trophy no matter how spastic
they are. No one believes Wine Spectator numbers any more, anyway--not
when you've got professional wine bloggers reviewing the very same crap!
Do I even have to mention Wine and Spirits Magazine? Have their reviews
ever sold wine? Have you ever met anybody, anywhere who subscribes to
Wine and Spirits? If your leg had their circulation you'd have to have
it amputated. No, my friend, more and more the wine buying public is
turning to wine blogs, and my blog, in particular, for their wine buying
advice. But you already knew this, and that's why your hand is shaking
right now, as you read this, knowing that this is your chance. I know, I
know, it's hard for me to believe too.
Mind you, I didn't ask
for this sort of power and responsibility. I began my wine blog six
months ago on a whim. Well, to be honest, so many people have urged me
to write about wine, so many of my friends and family turn to me for
wine advice knowing that I've learned a lot in the past six years I've
been an avid wine drinker, I only felt it was fair to let everyone in on
my expertise. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It saves
them time and money. Honestly, we should apply the same logic to the
Health Care Debate. Next time you need surgery, get it from a second
year medical student--hell, they know plenty, certainly more than you,
what could go wrong? See what I mean? Training and knowledge are vastly
overrated. It's opinions that matter. Best of all, it's guaranteed
positive opinions that matter! And, here's a bonus, on the off chance
that I don't like your wine you can always say I wasn't really qualified
to judge it--try saying that about Sunset Magazine! OK, bad example.
may be wondering just what kind of audience, and how large an audience,
my blog, LePetomaneofWine, attracts. Since I began my blog six months
ago my numbers have increased tenfold from just my parents reading it!
And if you look at my Facebook page you'll see that I have more than 300
friends, many of them part of the local prison population. I am a
prolific user of Twitter, and after I taste your wine samples you will
see the Twittersphere come alive with comments I post like, "Want a
great Syrah tonight, check out my blog!" Wait! What was that noise? Oh,
sorry, it's the sound of cash registers ringing--always happens when I
Tweet. And what does all this cost you? The price of two bottles of each
of your wines (one to review, one to sell on Craigslist) and shipping! I
know, it seems too good to be true.
You must know that ignoring
wine blogs is foolish. Everyone in the wine business knows this by now.
Read any wine blog! It's right there in print--wine blogs are the most
influential force in the wine business today. It's on the Internet, and
you can't say it on the Internet if it's not true. Except on Facebook,
which is all about lying. Why waste your time courting critics, risking
the chance that someone will detect the many flaws in your wine? I'm not
going to notice. The only flaw I notice in any wine is the price tag.
Why waste all that time and money traveling to wine shops? They have no
influence! Wine shops are just like gas stations, people go there to
fill up, not get advice on how to drive! One mention on my blog and
those wine shop buyers will be phoning you begging for wine! Don't be
the one winery left behind by the Social Media revolution! And don't
settle for any second-rate wine blogs either. OK, they're all
second-rate, don't settle for any third-rate wine blogs.
eagerly anticipate your case of samples. Please note that I do not
guarantee I will review your wines on LePetomaneofWine. But you can
trust that I will drink them.